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Military claims NPA extorted P25 M last year

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05:22 PM February 15th, 2013

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By: Nikko Dizon, February 15th, 2013 05:22 PM

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MANILA, Philippines—The New People’s Army raised P25 million through various forms of extortion in 2012, the military said Friday.

The Armed Forces said in a statement that with the start of the campaign for the midterm elections in May, communist insurgents were expected to step up their extortion activities, the Armed Forces said.

On Thursday, military spokesperson Col. Arnulfo Burgos said NPA guerrillas in Eastern Samar were demanding P1 million from gubernatorial candidates in exchange for a permit that would allow them to campaign in peace without harassment from the rebels. But the latest information from the AFP showed that much higher rates—P5 million for the gubernatorial candidates; P500,000 for candidates for vice governor and congressman; P100,000 for mayor and board member, P75,000 for vice mayor and P50,000 for councilor—were being demanded elsewhere in Eastern Visayas.

The military said that in the 2010 elections, the communist insurgents issued color-coded cards with serial numbers guaranteeing candidates who paid for permits that they would be allowed to campaign in rebel-infested areas.

The military said these extortion activities by the communist insurgents violate civil liberties such as freedom of speech and assembly.

Voters are also deprived of the chance to know the candidates who are prevented by the NPAs from campaigning for not giving in to their demands, the military said.

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